Tuesday, February 10, 2015

HANDMADE IS NOT ALWAYS AFFORDABLE

I just love this article "Quiltonomics:  The Real Cost of Quilts" by Jennifer Moore

If some of you have time, this is a good article to go and read.

My daughter in law tells me that I am worth more than I charge, not to under sell myself.  I saw on facebook the price one of my friends was selling a baby quilt for and almost choked (I didn't have anything in my mouth either).

So I went to my etsy shop and upped some of my prices.  A few months later a quilt sold.  I was so astounded, even still it was a bargain.

                                     Using Marjorie Busby designs I made these small quilts.

About ten years ago a friend asked me to make them a quilt for their mother.  Said she would make it worth my while.
So I did and I think I even hand quilted it.

 At that time I had sold maybe one or two quilts....and didn't have a clue to the price I should ask.

 So I left it up to her and to my utter shock she only paid me 40 dollars.

 That didn't even cover the cost of fabrics.   I wanted to cry, for days I wanted to cry.  I personally would rather give it away then sell it for that price.  It was my fault for not being more informed and milly mouse about it.

                                                   Number one seller in my craftsy shop.

For my friends, I find great joy in quilting for them so when I tell them a price, it is just that...the price of what they pay me and the price of my happiness of doing it for them.  No regrets

What brought this on???

 Well....I had to get my taxes ready for my husband....I keep all my receipts, the quilts I sell...etc.  I was so happy with the little I made last year until he calculated up my time per hours.

 I have to laugh because he was really being unrealistic because he went by a 40 hour work week and we all know that I quilt when I want to quilt and it is no 40 hours a week.  I also am not doing this to feed myself either, if I had to feed myself I might not be so lax about it all.

 I do it for the love of quilting.  (no pun inteneded)



Here is a video that was in the article above about the price of quilts.  This is here for you in case you do not have time to read the article.


So are we really undervaluing our worth like my daughter in law says?  Then you think, who would pay for them at such high prices and I am not talking 3,000.  As proven in my etsy shop, you can ask for more and there are people who will pay for it and know and appreciate the true value of your work.



21 comments:

  1. many years ago, I sold the only commissioned quilt I ever made for somebody else. They paid me $300. I don't know how much time it took, but it covered the cost of fabric, and like you said I enjoyed making the quilt. HOWEVER, since that time, people in OUR area are not so generous. I've made several baby quilts and lap quilts as gifts. Often times, there is no acknowledgement. About a month ago, my daughter showed me a website where a lady we know was selling her quilts. When I looked at what she had posted, I saw a lap quilt I had made for HER daughter, my daughters BEST FRIEND, and she was selling it for $15!!!! I about choked. That didn't even pay for the thread. I've become more and more disheartened about giving quilts to people I know. I would rather give it to charity. At least they would appreciate it, and not relegate it to the dog bed.
    (no sour grapes here :-(

    ReplyDelete
  2. Value ... everyone has a different idea on how to value what they make.
    The best reality check for others that I have found is to tell them I will teach them how to make the quilt for nothing . Then I send them out with a list of fabrics they need and how much of each fabric to buy. I also show them examples of the good fabric quality and poor.
    When they come back with a glazed look in their eyes we usually have a better reality check.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I feel your pain! I recently finished four quilts, quilted, backed, binding, provided the material...$100.00 is what I received. Never again, but hey, I think I should have put it in writing that at least the materials should have been covered!! Live and learn, I guess. Gifts are the best way to share our quilts, at least for me!

    ReplyDelete
  4. It's a dilemma. There are numerous formulas for what to charge, but I never have charged as much as suggested. It's not that I undervalue myself and my work, I know " I'm worth it". Lol! It's just that I know there is not a lot of discretionary money in most people's pockets. Plus, I've accepted that I will never be compensated fairly for my time. I enjoy the time spent, and have decided that is enough. Actually, I'd do it for nothing. In fact, I often have, with pleasure.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I guess that is why I do not sell my quilts! I just enjoy the process and gifting of the finished projects. We all know that the cost of homemade quilts in supplies only is high.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Very interesting article! I was familiar with the people and articles she referenced, but not her article. I also watched both of the Quilty videos she embedded in her article. Again, very interesting.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I enjoyed the vedio and the insight on selling a quilt. Like you I usually under sell my quilts, but when someone ask me how much a charge to make them a quilt, I usually say you cannot afford it.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Great post. And I do think your prices for your beautiful handmade items have been way on the low side, not at all in alignment with material and labor costs, nor competitively priced. So I'm truly delighted to see you thinking about this and moving your price structure upward.

    QuiltShopGal
    www.quiltshopgal.com

    ReplyDelete
  9. I have to agree we do undervalue the costs of our quilts. We found we did the same when we had a craft business. Not sure how to change that though when so many say "you are charging way too much". That's why I donate them to charity.

    ReplyDelete
  10. This is so true Barb. I remember participating in Christmas craft fairs back in the 70s. No one ever made money from their time. But, we had a lot of fun and we enjoyed each other so much; it was cheap and safe entertainment. But, you do want to at least get back the material fees. When someone asks me to make a particular quilt (say a t-shirt quilt for their graduating teen) I take them shopping with me for fabric and they purchase the fabric. Then they know right away, this is not an inexpensive hobby.

    ReplyDelete
  11. I don't sell mine, either. I've been making a couple of twin sized quilts for an elderly friend of mine and only charging her $400 each, and at that, I figure I'm making $2.00 an hour. I am doing it because I love her and it brings me much pleasure knowing she asked me because she loves my work. Glad you raised yor pieces a little and are meeting with success. Thanks for sharing the video. I enjoyed watching it.

    ReplyDelete
  12. This is a great post. Thank you for sharing the video link. The only quilts I make, other than for my own use, are for charities or for my children's friends that are having babies. I don't know if their friends appreciate it, but my children know what goes into making a quilt and they appreciate it.

    ReplyDelete
  13. I agree that it is difficult in most markets to get full value for a quilt, so you have to decide if you are willing to do it on a case by case basis. If someone asks you to do it, then I think it's fair to let them know how much it would be approx. I aim high because we all know that we never guesstimate correctly when it comes to how long it takes to make a quilt. If they are still interested and I have the time to devote to it, then I try (try is the key here) to figure out time, costs etc for the project. Most times when they hear an average price in the hundreds, they aren't so anxious to have it done so I don't have to worry about it. I just won't make them for nothing anymore. I do offer to teach them.

    ReplyDelete
  14. I couldn't get the link to the article to work, but I agree, handmade does not mean cheap! However, if we charge for materials and then add even a minimum hourly wage the end result would be too expensive for most markets. It's really hard to know what is a fair price for both the maker and the buyer!

    ReplyDelete
  15. I'm not sure I want my daughter to know how much money it takes to make a quilt. And I never want her to know how many UFOs in my area 51! But i feel your pain and wished people understood what is involved in making a quilt. Good post.

    ReplyDelete
  16. I used to sell my work. When I started, someone that had a thriving business selling items in the same category as mine told me that if you don't put a valuable price on items, people wonder what is wrong with your work. I learned a little about marketing back then, priced my items to be competitive in the market. I made good money with my "hobby" that became a "job" besides the 40 hour job I had outside our home.

    ReplyDelete
  17. I've read so many articles about pricing quilts and it is a problem trying to set a value especially when you can find basically the same quilts on Etsy selling anywhere from $30 to $250, the competition is fierce. As far as letting someone else put a value on one of my quilts, nope, I would much rather gift or just say NO.

    ReplyDelete
  18. I shared this video on Facebook. I hope it lets some folks know that they should pay me more for a quilt. Ha ha. I guess that is why I don't make a huge effort to sell my quilts. (I like them more than people who would buy them do.)

    ReplyDelete
  19. Thanks for sharing this information. Very interesting, and also interesting to read the comments. Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
  20. No, I do not sell my quilts. And I sometimes hesitate making them for anyone other than my family. I've only made one quilt by commission. And I only charged for fabric, because I love the challenge of figuring out the puzzle. I have made quilts for people that have been so appreciative, they made me feel as if I had given them a priceless Gem. And I have also made quilts for people that could have cared less if I had shopped at the thrift store.
    It's a crap shoot.
    There is one thing I do feel strongly about, if we keep downgrading what we do by constantly calling it, A Craft, A Hobby, A Past Time, we will never be seen as anything more than, "A bunch of sweet old ladies that get together, drink tea and sew." What we do takes vision, it takes the proper tools, it takes the right pallet, it takes talent, we must start changing how we refer to quilting, we need to call it ART, maybe then those that had previously devalued our time will begin looking at Quilters and Quilting the same way they look at, Sculptures, Painters or Classical Musicians, as ARTISTS.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Good post and it needed to be said. The quilts I make I give to my grandchildren or I keep them for myself. I have the dilemma of being "told" by a friend that a quilt is "expected" for each member of her family (as gifts.) She is a very good and loyal friend and because I'm a woos I did it. Working on the LAST one now. But I finally have some steel in my backbone and if the subject comes up I will explain it to her. I know I dug my own hole by making the first quilt for her first grandchild as a shower gift. That one was my choice but I didn't realize the hole I was digging! Learning from this experience I would never, ever sell or make a quilt again for someone other than my own offspring.
    My mother sewed and was often asked if she would sew for others and she always said no. People think they will get it "cheap" because they didn't buy the item off the rack and NO ONE wants to pay for your time.
    In my opinion my quilts are a part of me, I quilt for the comfort of it and I don't want the experience soured by ingratitude.

    ReplyDelete

Life is a breeze with you in it. Thanks for stopping by!